There is always space to argue about variations on dishes, and so it is true with falafel too! Where is it from? Where is the best one? How should it be made? I’ll stop on this last issue!
Of course, two camps exist: the fava-only falafel camp, and those who preach the combination of favas and chickpeas. Then again, there are also those who swear by coriander versus those who swear by parsley! There are no rules, only different variations around one theme. And it’s for each to choose his or her favorite.
Here is one of the many versions! Still, the secret of any good falafel is to eat it hot enough to be golden and crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. Another secret is to eat it in a sandwich, because a falafel is not just about a deep-fried ball of something, but rather about the mix and contrast of the fried falafel with the tarator (tahini sauce), juicy tomato, fragrant mint, crisp parsley, crunchy radish, and pickled chile pepper, all in one bite with some flatbread!
- 1 cup (170 g) fava beans (large, pale green, split, skinned)
- 1/2 cup (125 g) dried chickpeas
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bunch green coriander
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Tahini Sauce (recipe follows), for serving
- Kamal Mouzawak
Soak the fava beans and the chickpeas in separate bowls in water to cover for 10 hours. Drain and mix together in a bowl.
Cut the onion into eighths and add to the bowl. Add the garlic cloves, green coriander, baking powder, cumin, ground coriander, and ginger, and season to taste with salt.
In a food processor, whiz small batches of this mixture to obtain a paste. The consistency of the falafel depends on this paste, which must not be too smooth (so as not to have soggy falafel) nor too coarse (so as not to have crumbling ones). Knead the paste by hand a little longer if needed, to make sure it will hold together, adding 1 tablespoon (8 g) of flour if needed.
To shape the falafel, there is a falafel shaper that quickly creates balls. If that is not available, use a small utensil such as an ice-cream scoop to portion walnut-size balls of the falafel mix. In fact, falafel are not shaped as balls in the end, but as thick disks—the thickness is important enough to obtain falafel that are not too thin and will dry when fried, but are thick enough to crisp on the outside and stay moist from the inside. Flatten the balls a bit into disks.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot over medium heat or a deep fryer. Deep-fry the falafel disk until golden and crisp on both sides. Serve the falafel hot, with the tahini sauce.